Real Answers from Real Pilots

Meet me at age 30, third career, an introduction

Hello all, I hope all is well this week.

I’ve been meaning to get active here, and with the day off I figured now was as good a time as any.

A bit about me, I’ve been told my story may interests someone in the future:
I started at KTTN (Trenton, NJ) on September 13 in the 100 hour multi (credit private). I earned my Private Pilot Certificate ASEL in Arizona shortly before coming back to the East Coast. I came with just about 300 hours total time, and that’s the story.

As I’m sure many of us did, I started my passion for aviation young, it’s really some of the first memories I have. That passion drove me to seek an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where I graduated a Marine Officer with a flight contract in 2013. Shortly after married my wife, who I met there and traveled to Virginia for The Basic School. In early 2014 I moved to Pensacola and started Military flight training. I flew the T-6B Texan II for about 90 hours and was selected to move on to jets. I moved to Texas and and continued training in the T-45C Goshawk for about 210 hours.

While I absolutely loved the flying, and was living my dream, I was concerned about a few things surrounding family commitments, maintenance, and force readiness at the time. And after nearly 2 years of separation from my wife (who had moved to Arizona for the Marines), I decided to put my family first and left the flight program in my last week of training, after having done some very cool things out there.

In 2016 I stopped flying and left the Marine Corps the next year. I had some very strong feelings at the time, and it’s hard to describe the lack of motivation to get flying again. I had an opportunity to complete my Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument rating for about $2,500 (really a steal at the time) but never did.

After leaving the Marine Corps, I moved out to Arizona to be reunited with my wife and started a Career as State Trooper. I worked there until late 2020, rekindling my passion for leadership and instruction until I once again got bit by the aviation bug.

I started looking into what I’d have to do to get certificated and my wife and I decided we had the means and desire for me to again pursue a career in aviation.

At 30 years old, I finished up my private pilot requirements, took my check ride and reaffirmed aviation was in my blood. I left my second career, moved back to the East Coast and enrolled here at ATP. My third son was born on 9/11, just 2 days before I started and I’ve been going through the program with 3 boys 3 and under!

I finished my Commercial AMEL check ride last Tuesday! My Commercial ASEL is scheduled this Friday. I am very much looking forward to CFI school.

My future goals include owning my own piston twin, continuing to develop as an instructor so I can teach my kids to fly, and if I’m lucky eventually becoming a DPE.

I have been fortunate to have a lot of previous experience to lean on going through this program, but it really does feel similar to how the military trains its pilots. I breath a sign of relief every day that I finished all the knowledge tests before starting, and that has really reduced the stress and allow me to focus on the flying and check rides.

I plan on being around here often now, and I’m looking forward to connecting with you all!

See you out there,
Clarence

4 Likes

Clarence,

Thank you for sharing your insights here. That is certainly not the typical path we see, but is a very interesting one. Good luck with the rest of the program and please keep us in the loop.

PS, I think being a DPE is a great job and a nice way to get paid to fly, while being home every night.

Chris

Welcome Clarence! It’s good to have you!

As a new dad myself, I can certainly appreciate the desire to put family first. I look forward to hearing from you more often.

Tory